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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Robert du Preez © Gallo Images

Sharks stick to the continuity mantra

The Sharks will go into their crucial Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Bulls with an unchanged team for the third match in a row.

Ever since the Sharks beat the Blues in Auckland on Easter Saturday, Sharks coach Robert du Preez has been content to back what works. While the Sharks went down to the Hurricanes in Napier last Friday, the Sharks turned in a top performance against the 2016 champions and were unlucky to lose.

The Sharks have though made three changes to the bench, with the headline return being that of Daniel du Preez to the loose-forward mix. Tyler Paul moves from being loose-forward back-up to replacement lock, with Hyron Andrews dropping out. Du Preez’s elevation back into the match day squad after returning from a lengthy injury absence means it will be the first time that the three Du Preez brothers will be playing together for the Sharks in a Super Rugby match – assuming of course that Daniel du Preez gets onto the field while brothers Robert and Jean-Luc are part of the action.

Daniel and Robert played together earlier in the season, but Jean-Luc was absent at the time. Since then Daniel has been out injured, with Jean-Luc making his return during the overseas tour. In the other change to the Sharks bench for the clash with the Bulls, hooker Akker van der Merwe returns in place of Franco Marais.

The Sharks are currently in second place on the South African Conference log and will be hoping that they can cut down the Lions’ currently solid lead by beating the Bulls. The Lions are 11 points ahead but the Sharks have a game in hand. The Bulls are five points behind the Sharks, but they have already had their two byes, so the Pretoria team has two games on hand on the Lions and one on the Sharks.

Cell C Sharks team: 15.Curwin Bosch, 14.Sbu Nkosi, 13.Lukhanyo Am, 12.Andre Esterhuizen, 11.Lwazi Mvovo, 10.Robert du Preez, 9.Louis Schreuder, 8.Tera Mtembu, 7.Jean-Luc du Preez, 6.Philip van der Walt, 5.Stephan Lewies, 4.Ruan Botha (captain), 3.Thomas du Toit, 2.Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1.Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16.Akker van der Merwe, 17.Juan Schoeman, 18.John-Hubert Meyer, 19.Tyler Paul, 20.Daniel du Preez, 21.Cameron Wright, 22.Marius Louw, 23.Kobus van Wyk.


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